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Poll: Queenslanders Support Renewable Energy Over Coal

29 April 2020 Poll: Queenslanders Support Renewable Energy Over Coal

A new poll of more than 1000 Queenslanders has found overwhelming support for the State to invest in renewable energy. 

The QDOS Research poll, commissioned by Solar Citizens, found that 78 per cent of respondents would be more likely to support the Queensland Government spending on renewable energy generation than on new coal-fired power, and 62 per cent of people agree the Government should develop a plan to gradually transition and generate all electricity from clean sources like solar and wind.

Climate Change was a major concern, with 70 per cent of those polled saying they were concerned about climate change in Queensland. 

“These results show that Queenslanders are concerned about the threat of climate change and support more government investment in clean energy solutions. The Government should listen to these concerns and pave the way for more renewable energy jobs and investment,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director. 

These polling results come as state and federal politicians debate the need and viability of a new coal-fired power station in North Queensland. 

The Federal Government has provided $4 million for a feasibility study into a new coal-fired power station in Collinsville, despite the Queensland Energy Minister, Anthony Lynham, expressing deep concern over the project. 

“Building a new coal-fired power station in Queensland would require extensive government subsidies and it’s clear that the majority of Queenslanders don’t support the idea,” Ms Roberts said.

“Queensland Opposition Leader, Deb Frecklington, is staying silent on the issue, but 65 per cent of LNP voters polled said they support spending on renewable energy ahead of coal-fired power.”

Further results showed that 22 per cent of people surveyed were unsure who they’d vote for when Queensland heads to the polls in October. A majority of those who were unsure of their voting intention rated a negative association with coal-fired power and coal mining.

“Queenslanders clearly support more investment in clean energy projects and if governments take action now it will boost the struggling economy,” said Ms Roberts. 

“Renewables can unlock the energy trifecta for Queenslanders: lower bills, less pollution and more regional employment.

“We can utilise our impressive solar and wind resources to produce an abundance of cheap electricity and help revive Australian manufacturing.”

[ENDS]

Media contacts: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694


Overview of polling results

An online survey of a random selection of n=1,045 Queensland residents was conducted. The survey was conducted between 20-23 March, 2020. Of those surveyed, 49% were male and 51% were female. 

  • When asked who they intend to vote for in the Queensland state election, 29 per cent said the LNP, 27 per cent Labor, 9 per cent the Greens, 7 per cent One Nation, 1 per cent Bob Katter’s Australia party, 4 per cent another party or independent, and 22 per cent said they were unsure. 

  • 78 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to support using public funds to ‘build more renewable energy generation like wind and solar’ over building ‘more coal fired power stations’ (22 per cent).

  • 62 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that ‘the Queensland government should develop a plan to gradually move away from polluting energy and generate all our electricity from clean sources like wind and solar’.

  • Only 18 per cent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that burning coal causes climate change. 

  • 70 per cent of respondents rated their concern of climate change between 6-10 on a scale where 0 is not concerned at all and 10 is extremely concerned.

  • 66 per cent of respondents rated Labor as the first or second best party at supporting renewable energy, whereas only 47 per cent rated the LNP in the same way. 

Solar Stimulus a Winner for All

24 April 2020: Solar Stimulus a Winner for All

News that the NSW Government is making it simpler for rooftop solar owners to install larger systems is today welcomed by Solar Citizens. The community group is calling on NSW and other state governments to further invest in solar stimulus measures. 

“Making it easier for NSW residents to expand their solar systems is a good step to stimulate the small-scale solar industry, while helping households slash their bills even further,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director. 

“While more people are working from home and using electricity during the day, rooftop solar has an important role to play to keep electricity bills manageable.

“Investing in further measures to make solar and storage accessible to more households can offer real bang for buck for state governments: lowering power bills, slashing pollution and keeping people in work.”

Currently the small-scale solar industry employs 13,000 people across the country, according to ABS data released last month. 

“It’s harder for renters and low-income households to install rooftop solar and take control of their power bills, so this is a real opportunity for governments to expand programs that boost installations on rental properties and public housing,” said Ms Roberts. 

“There’s also no better time to make strategic investments in rolling out solar and storage on schools and government buildings.”

An 2017 report commissioned by Solar Citizens found that NSW’s solar owners reduced the state’s wholesale electricity price by up to $3.3 billion over one year, largely by reducing peak demand.

[ENDS]

Media contact:
Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens' National Director 0408583694

Government’s ARENA funding announcement good start but falls short

8th March 2020: Government’s ARENA funding announcement good start but falls short

Solar Citizens welcomes this morning’s announcement that the Australian Government will provide $480 000 towards ARENA to fund clean energy entrepreneurs, but says this falls well short of the funding needed to maintain ARENA beyond September this year.

ARENA will run out of funding for new projects within the year, after the Government cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the agency’s budget in 2016.

‘ARENA has delivered some of the world’s most efficient and widely-used clean energy innovations, but there’s still more to be done to ensure Australia doesn’t fall behind,’ said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

‘The Federal Government still has no real plan to fund ARENA beyond 2020 and we risk losing the expertise and innovation that has led to cheaper and more accessible solar for households and communities.’

‘This is a good start but without meaningful long-term investment in ARENA, Australia will lose its place at the forefront of renewable innovation.’


[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.

Solar Citizens Celebrates Wind Jobs Bonanza

26 March 2020: Solar Citizens Celebrates Wind Jobs Bonanza

Solar Citizens congratulates the Queensland Government on the announcement that the
publicly-owned generator CleanCo will build a new wind farm near Warwick.

The announcement comes as the Government also awards the long-awaited 400MW reverse auction to ACCIONA for wind generation at the same MacIntyre Precinct. 

“It’s a smart move by the Queensland Government to roll out renewable energy infrastructure announcements now, so that Queenslanders reap the job and investment benefits in the months and years to come,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director. 

“Right now a lot of families are doing it tough and more clean, renewable energy projects will help drive down power prices.”

The wind farm precinct will create 400 jobs and enough clean energy to power 700,000 homes. 

“This is a great first step, but we need to see many more announcements like this if Queensland is to achieve it’s 50% by 2030 renewable energy target,” said Mrs Roberts. 

“As well as supporting more large-scale clean energy projects, the Government should be prioritising more rooftop solar on public housing, as well as for low-income households and renters, so that power prices are driven down during this difficult time and for many years to come.”

[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.

Taylor's technology road map won't fix clean energy investment crash

‘Today’s announcement from Angus Taylor on the technology roadmap should be of concern to everyone who wants to see a speedier transition to clean energy,’ said Ellen Roberts, National Director of Solar Citizens.

‘While Taylor is right to highlight how cheap wind and solar are as sources of generation we need policy settings at Federal level that enable the clean energy sector to continue to grow. The Renewable Energy Target will expire this year, with no policy to replace it.’

‘The Morrison Government’s lack of leadership on clean energy is causing investment in the renewable energy sector to crash. After a record construction boom in the last two years, new renewable energy projects under construction in Queensland this year will crash to zero this year.’

‘Policy certainty means investment certainty, which creates jobs and brings down emissions. Time for the Morrison government to get on with the job. They need to restore funding to ARENA in this years budget and reintroduce targets for renewable energy.’

‘Taylor has said he will not set targets for reducing emissions or increasing the amount of renewable energy in our grid. However it was Howard’s Renewable Energy Target has incentivised new renewable energy investment.’

‘Most concerning is the proposed investment into research in carbon capture and storage. It is not yet clear whether this will be used for fossil fuel projects. Millions of dollars have been wasted on funding research into carbon capture and storage for coal fired power stations, for no results. Let's not see money wasted in this way.’

[ENDS]

For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

Queensland Government falls behind on support for renewables

Solar Citizens has today released a report card on the Queensland Government’s progress on its renewable energy commitments, marking them C- overall.

‘Sadly the Queensland government is barely scraping a pass on their renewable energy report card, because they’re not on track to achieve their aim of 50% renewable energy by 2030,’ said Solar Citizens National Director Ellen Roberts. 

Solar Citizens assessed the full range of the Queensland government’s renewable energy commitments and found:

  • The delivery of the 400MW reverse auction is now running two years overdue, although an announcement is expected from CleanCo in a matter of weeks;
  • The Government just failed to reach its goal of 3GW of rooftop solar by 2020; 
  • The rays of sunlight are the Advancing Clean Energy Schools program is so far on track, as well as progress made towards renewable energy in remote communities. 

A 2019 analysis by Green Energy Markets found that Queensland is only on track to meet 30% renewable energy by 2030, requiring another 4,500MW of projects on top of the Government’s commitment to deliver 1000MW through CleanCo to reach the 50% target.

‘Labor are certainly ahead of the LNP, who have made some topline statements but don’t support a planned transition to clean, renewable energy. But Labor need to turn their policies on paper into real action on the ground.

We’ve experienced a renewable energy construction boom in Queensland since 2016, but the number of new large-scale clean energy projects committed to last year crashed to almost nothing.

‘Just over a year ago at the height of construction activity close to 3,000 people were employed across Queensland’s regions building new clean energy plants, but if nothing changes that number will fall to zero in a matter of months.

‘The Queensland government can turn this around, but they need to do this quickly to avoid renewable investment flowing to other states that have better support for renewable energy.

‘Queensland is a world leader when it comes to rooftop solar. Queenslanders are doing their bit, and now it’s time for the government to support investment and jobs in clean energy.’

The full report card can be accessed at: https://www.solarcitizens.org.au/qld_renewable_progress_facts

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.

[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens' National Director
0408583694

Morrison needs to ensure all States get transmission dollars - not just Liberal ones

Solar Citizens has this morning welcomed the Federal contribution to investment in transmission infrastructure in New South Wales, but says people living in Labor states like Queensland and Victoria also deserve to benefit from Federal investment.

It was announced this morning that NSW would receive around a billion dollars of federal funding to support new renewable energy zones and other transmission infrastructure in a deal between the State and the Federal government.

‘This is an excellent investment in the further development of renewable energy and there are plenty of renewable energy zones around the country that should also receive Federal funds,’ said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens' National Director.  

‘Upgrades to transmission infrastructure are urgently needed to support the energy transition and ensure the resilience of our electricity grid in the face of increasing extreme weather.

‘Scott Morrison also claimed this morning that we need more gas fired power generation. This is simply untrue. We can meet our needs with the right combination of renewable energy and storage.’

[ENDS]

For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.

Scott Morrison dodges the blame on renewable jobs crash

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison claimed on ABC radio this morning that Australia was leading the world on renewable energy investment. This is plainly untrue, as investment in new utility scale projects crashed last year.

"Prime Minister Scott Morrison is trying to cover up the fact that he has no policy for ensuring renewable energy growth, and this policy vacuum is responsible for the crash in investment," said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

"In Queensland the number of utility renewable energy construction jobs is set to fall to zero in 2020 if State and Federal Governments don’t step up ambition on renewable energy growth, research commissioned by Solar Citizens shows. 

"The national Renewable Energy Target fuelled a renewable energy boom in Queensland over the last three years, creating thousands of jobs and giving Queenslanders affordable electricity. 

"But the RET has now been fully subscribed, and without the right policies to jump-start renewable energy project construction, the jobs and economic activity will completely collapse."

[ENDS]

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.


Contacts:
Ellen Roberts (Solar Citizens): 0408583694

3,000 QLD Construction Jobs Set to Disappear

The number of utility renewable energy construction jobs in Queensland is set to fall to zero next year if the Queensland Government doesn’t step up ambition on renewable energy growth, new analysis commissioned by Solar Citizens shows. 

The analysis, carried out by Green Energy Markets, shows that at the beginning of this year close to 3,000 construction jobs were created from new large-scale renewable projects.

But a staggering drop in large-scale renewable investment across 2019 will see the jobs dry up completely by April.

In Queensland the amount of new renewable generation commissioned has dropped from over 1,400MW two years ago to less than 20MW this year, largely due to the end of the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET).

“The RET has fuelled a renewable energy boom in Queensland over the last three years, creating thousands of jobs and giving Queenslanders affordable electricity,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“But the RET has now been fully subscribed, and without the right policies to jump-start renewable energy project construction, the jobs and economic activity will completely collapse.

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. The solutions needed will not only keep Queenslanders employed in good jobs, they will also increase the amount of affordable, clean electricity in our Sunshine State and lay the groundwork for a strong, low-carbon economy,” said Roberts.

The Solar Citizens says the Queensland Government can protect renewable energy jobs by:

  • Accelerating delivery of Queensland’s Renewables 400 reverse auction programme, and bringing forward CleanCo’s 1,000MW target from 2025 to 2020 

  • Committing to support the construction of 1-2GW per year of new renewable energy generation capacity through to 2025.

  • Planning for a mix of public and privately owned clean energy power stations. 

“The Federal Government’s track record on transitioning the economy, and workers, to renewable energy has been pretty hopeless, but the Queensland State Government can stop this looming disaster,” said Roberts. 

“Accelerating and raising the ambition of Queensland’s renewable energy sector will be good for workers, residents, and the planet—it’s a win-win situation and a no-brainer for the Queensland Government,” said Roberts.

An earlier report from Green Energy Markets found that Queensland is not on track to meet its 50 per cent by 2030 renewable energy target, projecting the Sunshine State will only reach 30 per cent. 

[ENDS]

Contacts:
Ellen Roberts (Solar Citizens): 0408583694

Queensland Needs to Match NSW on Climate and Clean Energy

This morning NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean has announced his government’s commitment to tackling climate emissions, and making NSW a 'Saudi Arabia' of clean energy.

"NSW now has a stronger emissions target than Queensland, and are surging ahead in their support for renewable energy. It’s time for Queensland to step up," said Solar Citizens' National Director, Ellen Roberts.

"Queensland had seen a renewables boom over the last few years, but there has been a massive drop off of new projects commissioned this year. 

"The Queensland government needs to step in and support the development of Queensland’s world class renewable resources. 

"Unfortunately Queensland is not on track to meet our 50% by 2030 renewable energy target. Queensland has some of the best solar resources in the country, and we should make sure it's part of the race to the top on clean energy."

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694